Even though I ranted about my chickens in my last post and sometimes want to strangle them, they really are a blessing, and I can't imagine not having them. They have provided countless eggs for us and hours of entertainment.
For example, a few weeks ago, a representative from the power company had to enter the backyard, and he asked if we had a dog. I said, no, but we have chickens, so please make sure the gate is closed. He asked if they would bite. What! I was joking and said, only if I tell them to. He took my comment seriously, and as he came down the walkway, he was met face on by Thelma. He stopped and looked at me and asked if I was sure they wouldn't bite. I told him to keep walking and she would get out of the way. He didn't quite believe me and took a few tentative steps and stopped again. She stood her ground. I just giggled and told him to keep walking. I could tell he was scared out of his mind. He finally took a few more steps and Thelma got out of his way. He promptly did his business and hightailed it out of the backyard. Yes, we have terrifying guard chickens.
Since getting our first chicks over two years ago, I have been on a quest to find organic chicken feed close to home. I started by calling all of my local feed and seed stores. Here's a typical conversation:
"Hi, I'm calling to find out if you sell organic chicken feed."
"Are you talking about scratch?"
"No, I'm looking for organic chicken feed, either layer pellets or mash."
"Yeah, we got layer pellets and mash."
"Is is organic?"
"The bag says all natural, so I reckin it's organic."
"Nope, the bag would say organic on it."
"It don't say organic on it."
"Would you be able to order organic feed?"
"I don't think so."
"Well, thank you for your time."
I have begged the manager at TSC to talk to the higher ups about getting organic feed. At one point he told me he would be able to order it for me, but then after several months of me harrassing him, he told me he couldn't. I contacted TSC's corporate office to see if they had access to organic feed and was told no. I know TSC was a long shot, but I have one locally and wanted to exhaust my efforts. I have researched the feed companies and received quotes for shipping it to my house. The shipping rates were more than the cost of the feed. I have contacted buying co-ops to set up a drop point with the idea of setting up a co-op with friends. No company I contacted delivers to GA. I got word of a farm about 30 miles from my house that mixes its own chicken feed, but when I called about it, not only was the lady rude, but she laughed when I asked her if it was organic, and she asked me what organic was. When I told her, she gave me a resounding no that their feed was not organic. I did find a farm close to Atlanta that sells organic feed, but it's 120 miles from my house. That's alot of mileage for chicken feed. I could also travel to Atlanta to get feed, but it's even further than the farm. I considered mixing my own feed, but the shipping costs for all the different grains were outrageous.
All of this failure did not daunt me as I'm a type A personality, and when I sink my teeth in something, I'm like a pitt bull; I don't let go. I'm also a sore loser, and I hate to feel like I'm losing and I hate to be told no. So, I try, try, try again.
Last week, I did a search for feed and seed stores near Columbia, SC, which is about 60 miles from my house, and while still a distance, it's not as far as the farm outside of Atlanta. The first couple of phone calls were the typical conversations from above. Then, I hit the jackpot. I found a store outside of Columbia that sells organic chicken feed. And, my friend, N., lives in this town and commutes to Augusta for work. I asked her if she could go by and pick up a bag of feed for me and bring it with her to work this week. I met up with her yesterday and FINALLY got my feed.
If you live close to an organic feed supplier, thank them!
Oh, @ warm dirt and Leigh: Thanks for the kind words on my last post. Homesteading/farming definitely has a romantic quality to it and some people make it look so easy, but it's not. Sitting outside in 100 degree weather picking borer eggs off squash plants because nothing else has worked is not romantic. It's stinky and hot and not even guaranteed to work, but I do it because I want to eat my own homegrown squash, and like I said above, I'm type A. ;-)
Warm Dirt: I abhor mosquitos, and I can't believe you are still getting freezing nights in June. My heart goes out to you. It's in the mid to upper 90s here in GA and humid as all get out. Sometimes, in the summer, it's so humid, it's hard to breathe. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.
Leigh: I've been enjoying your blog too!